The Cockpit Drill and other necessary life skills.

The Cockpit Drill and other necessary life skills.

Red arrows and vulcan bomber by Vicki Godridge

Hi and welcome to another week of ramblings.

It’s been a busy week in the Godridge household. On Sunday we went off to the Royal Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford and on Wednesday night my wife and I took in a bit of culture with the Merchant of Venice!

The Royal Air Tattoo is one of my favourite events of the year. I suppose it’s due to my family’s military background, especially the RAF, but I love watching and hearing the fast jets and smelling the jet fuel. Sends me straight back to my childhood, sitting on the roof of my Dad’s Ford Cortina to get a better view of the Lancaster as she majestically flies past.

Here’s a couple of quick pics from the event. The first was actually taken by my wife who is an accomplished photographer, while the second was my effort!

Red arrows and vulcan bomber by Vicki Godridge

My wife’s photo of the Red Arrows and Vulcan.

vulcan bomber

Honestly… it is the same plane!

So what does this have to do with DRIVING? I hear you shout.

Well where do you think the term ‘cockpit drill’ came from? That’s right.. from the real cockpit drill needed by all pilots before take-off.

I get some pupils jump in the car and want to head off immediately. They sit down, start the engine and off we go… right? WRONG! If you don’t stop and complete your cockpit drill before you go, you could be in all sorts of trouble. Perhaps not as much trouble as a pilot in an F16 travelling at double the speed of sound realising the hydraulic pressure isn’t right, but certainly enough trouble to cause an accident.

So what is the full cockpit drill? Do you know? Have you really given it that much thought? Let’s see…

DOORS – Check the doors are securely closed including any passenger doors. You are responsible for the safety of your passengers. A door not properly shut may open as you drive along.

SEAT – Adjust it for comfortable use of foot controls and steering. Push the clutch pedal down to the floor. You should be able to do this without stretching. You should be able to hold the steering wheel without stretching or banging your knees.

SEATBELTS – Put seatbelts on correctly. The law requires that all passengers wear seatbelts where fitted, unless they have an exemption certificate. It is the driver’s responsibility that children under 14s have their seat belt fastened.

MIRRORS – Adjust your mirrors. You should be able to see clearly in the mirror with the minimum of head movement. When adjusting, hold the mirror keeping your fingers off the glass. Adjust the door mirrors to reduce any ‘blind spots’.

You are nearly ready to switch on the engine, but before you do…

Check that the HANDBRAKE is on and the gear lever is in NEUTRAL.

Did you get them all?

Next time you get in the car, just take a moment and see if you REALLY check these points, or do you just assume it’ll be OK?

So… Moving on. On Wednesday evening my wife and I left the kids with my Mum-in-law and headed off to the theatre to see the Merchant of Venice. That’s Shakespeare in case you weren’t sure!

Even a driving instructor needs a bit of culture!

Even a driving instructor needs a bit of culture!

OH COME ON… What does this have to do with driving?

Think about it… It has EVERYTHING to do with driving, especially if you want to pass a driving test. Honestly, it does. Read on…

Driving correctly is all about following a script. Learning the correct routines for dealing with junctions, hazards, manoeuvres, pulling away and stopping. If you fail to follow the routine in the right order you go wrong, sometimes with serious consequences.

As you approach a road junction, such as a roundabout, you need to follow a set routine: Mirrors, Signal, Position, Speed, Look and Gear. To miss something out or get things in the wrong order could be disastrous.

Imagine if the actors cam out on stage and read all the wrong lines!!!

Learn your part and stay in character. That way you’ll keep safe on the roads and everyone watching will understand your intentions (hopefully).

If you want to know the full script… al the necessary routines for driving in virtually all road conditions and situations… get a copy of my ebook. I originally called it ‘Routine Driving’ which I thought was quite a clever title but people didn’t ‘get it’. So I retitled it ‘The Easy Way To Pass Your Driving Test’ – UGH! Horrible title but seems to get more sales!

ANYWAY… my ebook covers all the routines you need for EVERY road junction, manoeuvre and hazard you are likely to face on the roads. I break down the necessary steps into the simplest form possible which makes it EASY to learn and remember. Life’s hard enough, driving doesn’t have to be.

Check it out for yourself at

Well the sun’s out and the wind’s dropped, which means it time for me to go cut the garden hedge… Not sure how I relate that to driving, I’ll get back to you on that.

As usual, if you have any comments or questions… please leave a comment below or send me an email

Phill G